I’m not dead, I’m in trial this week

It’s been a long week.  In trial every day and not getting home until late.

A few notes:  excellent Op-Ed in the RTD on the UVA tuition increase.  I don’t understand why the Board wouldn’t get more input.  And, yes, these rising tuitions are targeted at middle-class families which save for college (and thus don’t qualify for aid on FAFSA).

Lots of backlash this week from the Law Establishment to our “surveillance” bill.  As I said before (and said repeatedly during the session), the arguments against it rely on series of red herrings.  And I’m not referring to the AG.

Speaking of which, the AG has apparently stifled the efforts by Amherst County to keep Sweet Briar open.  It’s been 30 days since I asked him for an opinion on the illegal closing of the school and the AG’s own ability to stop it.  Inaction = action.

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The Last Days of the Confederacy

It was 150 years ago to this day (April 2, 1865), when the Union Army broke through the Confederate lines at Petersburg and began the campaign to end the Civil War.   Within hours, the Union Army had marched on to Richmond and sent the Confederate government packing.

After winning countless battles over four years, the Army of Northern Virginia collapsed suddenly in April 1865, primarily because its soldiers realized they could no longer win — and their best hope was simply to survive.  Thousands of Johnny Rebs dropped out of ranks on that final desperate march across Southside (today’s Rte 460).  Only about 10,000 made it to the final denouement at Appomattox.

One of them was Thomas Moore of Fairfax Courthouse, a survivor.  Even before the Civil War, Moore was an army veteran.  As an adventurous teenager, he joined the Mississippi Rifles and fought in the Mexican War  under the leadership of its commander, Jefferson Davis.  He remained friends with Davis after that war — a relationship which undoubtedly influenced his future decisions.

In 1861, Virginia was split by the issue of secession.  Most residents of Fairfax County started out unionist (due in no small part to their fear of occupation).  Moore, the clerk of court, was an ardent secessionist who urged his neighbors to leave the union.

When the war started and the Army of Potomac occupied Fairfax County courthouse, Moore took his revenge — hiding the court’s law books in a farmhouse in Manassas and thus bringing the circuit court to a screeching half.

Moore joined the Army of Northern Virginia and stayed in for all four years.  Unlike others, he didn’t serve in the front lines but held a critical role as a quartermaster, keeping Lee’s army provisioned as they marched across Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Moore was there at Appomattox and received a parole “pass” signed by a Union officer, which allowed him to walk home to Fairfax and not be picked up by Union patrols (we found the parole slip in 1984 when we cleaned out my Great-Grandmother’s house).

You would think that a hardened Rebel like Moore would have stayed bitter to the end.  Instead, he walked to the courthouse and took a loyalty oath to the Union, just days after returning home from the War.  Was it a change of heart — or the realization that he needed to restore his pension as a Mexican War vet?

Moore’s family also returned home from living with relatives in Culpeper during the War.  Moore’s son Walton went on to UVA a few years later, started a law practice in Fairfax and was elected to the State Senate in 1882.   During that time, his father was also an active lawyer, a member of the Town Council, and a Vestry member at Truro Church.

After a long career as a lawyer, son Walton went on to serve in the U.S. Congress and (in the 1930′s) as an advisor  to FDR.   He had no children of his own, which meant that the “Moore” name didn’t survive in Fairfax but his sister Susan Lindsey married Roszel Donohoe of Loudoun and beget a daughter, Mary LeGrand (or “Bam”), who became a matriarch to the 20th century tribe of McCandlishes, Livingston, Prichards and Petersens.

The bottom line is that the Confederacy died 150 years ago, but Thomas Moore survived.  And we’re all around today thanks to both facts.

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This is Brilliant

You have to love the Cav Daily


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Armed Prisoner at Large nearby INOVA Fairfax

Just finished watching Chief Ed Roesler of the Fairfax County Police Dept giving a live interview outside of INOVA Fairfax on the escaped prisoner situation.  The Chief did an excellent job answering all questions.

Apparently the suspect escaped from two armed guards at INOVA around 3 a.m.  He was being held by private guards (?), although he was under Federal detention.  He took a gun from one of the guards and got away.  A shot was fired but there are no other details.  He is currently at large.

I represent the neighborhoods around INOVA Fairfax, which have natural areas with tall trees and hidden stream beds.  Lots of hiding places.  There are schools nearby, but fortunately it’s Spring Break.  The police have already been “reverse 911″ calling neighbors to let them know about the situation.

Hospital workers at INOVA are reporting to work, as always, but staging at Falls Church High School.  Again, everyone is reacting very professionally.

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Can Anyone Beat Kentucky?

In the light and heat generated by our current political controversies, we often forget about what really matters this time of year:  college basketball.

Normally a March Madness tournament has several subplots.  This year there is only one:  can anyone beat Kentucky?

The Wildcats have two superstars down low (Cauley-Stein and Townes) and several more on the perimeter (the Harrison twins).  All of these guys will play in the NBA and will play for many, many years.  Coach Calipari keeps them playing at a consistently high level, which is not easy when you’re coaching 18 and 19 year olds.

(ed. note:  I’m not a fan of the “one and done” rule, which essentially requires one semester in school before a player goes pro.  Don’t see the point.  But that’s another post).

But college sports is about hope.  That’s what makes it so great.  Last night, Notre Dame came pretty close, up five with a couple minutes to go before the ‘Cats took care of business.  The three point line means that a hot shooting team is never out of it — and can pull an upset against a taller, more talented team.  On Wisconsin?

The early exit of the UVA Cavaliers was disappointing but not unexpected.  Tom Izzo and Michigan State are peaking at the right time, and Tony Bennett’s boys didn’t have a good offensive game over the last month of the season.  To win you must score.

Related side issue:  do we have to see Duke in yet another Final Four?

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